Academic Assessment Policy
Pratt Institute recognizes the central role of faculty in developing, reviewing, and assessing curriculum, pedagogy, and student learning. In all decisions regarding the planning and practice of program assessment, programs should adopt the following guiding principles: central role of faculty in developing and reviewing assessment processes and plans, inclusion, democratic processes, and transparency. Assessment activities are appropriately supported by administrative personnel and resources.
The purpose of Pratt’s assessment cycle, based on clear, evaluable student learning outcomes, is to yield meaningful insights for continuous improvement of student learning. Assessment allows for identification and alignment of program, school, and Institute learning goals and helps determine whether and how those goals are fulfilled by curricular development and delivery, including pedagogical approaches. This information directly informs future curriculum development at Pratt through subsequent curricular proposals, which are reviewed according to Pratt’s Curricular Review Policy.
By engaging in active, continuous self-reflection and evidence-based decision-making, we build our capacity as educators to respond to student learning needs. While goals, outcomes, and methods will vary across programs, departments, and schools, assessment is a required component for each academic program, including degree-granting programs and others, such as Foundation and general education.
Assessment of course and program student learning outcomes is related to, but distinct from, academic program review, which also addresses staffing, budget, space, enrollment, retention, and other factors that contribute to student success. Program review, which is supported by the Office of the Provost, involves program faculty, and includes external evaluations, is also conducted on a routine basis, and each program’s assessment of its student learning outcomes provides an integral part of the program review.
- Assessment is an ongoing, consistent, and embedded part of course and program design, delivery, and improvement
- Assessment is flexible and designed in response to program learning outcomes and Institute learning goals
- Assessment is an open and transparent process, conducted jointly by the faculty and administration, with results shared widely among faculty, chairs, deans, and the Academic Senate
- Assessment provides for honest self-reflection and examination of biases that results in meaningful institutional change
- Assessment is organized in multi-year cycles, beginning with a plan for assessing overarching student learning goals and outcomes and continuing with annual reporting
- Assessment considers the equity of academic progress for all student populations
- Assessment methods are usually multimodal (e.g., quantitative and qualitative, direct and indirect, internal and external)
- Assessment allows for self-reflection by students on their learning, and by faculty and administrators on program goals and learning outcomes
Assessment Leadership and Staffing
The Office of the Provost shall provide support for assessment through a leadership position working directly with deans, chairpersons, program directors and coordinators, and faculty to develop assessment plans and professional development in assessment across the Institute.
The Academic Senate shall establish and maintain an Institute Assessment Committee, which shall be responsible for receiving and reviewing assessment plans and annual reports and convening, jointly with the Office of the Provost, an annual Institute-wide assessment event to present and discuss a summary of the annual assessment work.
Deans shall work with chairs and faculty to plan, budget for, and conduct activities as appropriate to their school, which may include providing a template for reporting assessment results, supporting faculty and chairperson professional development in assessment, and convening routine events to discuss school-wide assessment.
Department chairpersons, in consultation with faculty, may appoint assessment facilitators, who shall be responsible for coordinating assessment activities within their program. These facilitators work in cooperation with, and are guided by, assessment leaders in the Office of the Provost. Faculty assessment facilitators work directly with program faculty, department chair(s), and other assessment facilitators in their discipline, program, and school, and may serve as voting or non-voting members of respective department curriculum committees.
Support for Assessment
As part of annual school budgetary processes, the Office of the Provost shall provide reasonable budgetary support for assessment, such as stipends for faculty working on assessment and faculty assessment facilitators and funding for faculty and chair professional development in assessment.
Phases of Assessment
Program assessment plans and annual reports are developed collaboratively between faculty and administrators in each program.
All programs shall maintain a multi-year assessment plan (spanning 3–6 years), which specifies:
- a timeline for assessment activities across all years of the plan
- program learning outcomes approved through the Institute’s Curricular Review Policy and their relationship (i.e., “mapping”) to other goals and outcomes, such as strategic planning and Institute learning goals
- assessment methods and data sources to be used, including the role of student feedback in the assessment process
- responsibilities for assessment activities, including the role of the assessment facilitator(s) and the relationship between assessment activities and relevant curriculum committee(s)
- how and when results are shared with program faculty, department chairperson, department curriculum committee, school dean, Academic Senate, and Office of the Provost, and how action plans are developed
Program assessment plans should propose a sustainable workload across the cycle of activities. Department curriculum committees have the option to review and provide recommendations on assessment plans before they are submitted for review to the department chairperson and, if applicable, the school dean responsible for each program. Plans are also reviewed by the Institute Assessment Committee. Plans are approved by the Office of the Provost and may be updated as necessary (see Reporting below). Curricular revisions, including program and course learning outcomes, must be reviewed according to the Institute’s Curricular Review Policy.
The Office of the Provost shall maintain guidelines for assessment plans, which individual programs may customize according to their needs, along with examples of completed plans.
Following approval of their plans, programs conduct assessment activities as outlined therein. Review of assessment data and materials is a collaborative effort involving faculty, assessment leads, and administrative staff in the program, together with the assessment leader in the Office of the Provost.
Programs report annually on the results of their assessment activities, including:
- conclusions about whether and how student learning outcomes are achieved
- methods and data sources used, and the rationale for their selection
- how evidence was evaluated and by whom
- how and when results were communicated, and with whom
- any recommendations for follow-up actions, including curriculum developments or revisions, to be proposed through the appropriate curriculum committee(s), and the timeline for implementation
Reports shall be distributed simultaneously to the program faculty, department chairperson, department curriculum committee, school dean, Academic Senate, and Office of the Provost.
When the annual report provides evidence that students are not sufficiently meeting intended outcomes, the report should include recommendations, which specify the activities, responsibilities, and timeline for follow-up actions, which may span several years. Subsequent reports should refer back to these recommendations and provide updates on continuous program improvement. Curricular revisions, including program and course learning outcomes, must be reviewed according to the Institute’s Curricular Review Policy.
If the assessment work indicates that an update to the assessment plan is needed, revisions may be proposed to the department chairperson and, if applicable, the school dean responsible for the program. Approved revisions to assessment plans should be filed with the Office of the Provost.
Approved May 3, 2023